Street-smart Nathan Drake is recruited by seasoned treasure hunter Victor “Sully” Sullivan to recover a fortune amassed by Ferdinand Magellan and lost 500 years ago by the House of Moncada.
Video game adaptations have had a checkered history it would be fair to say, and by checkered history I mean pretty much always not good. ‘Uncharted’ is the latest successful video game series to be adapted for cinema, and with an underlying premise that cribs from Indiana Jones (who gets a mention here) and ‘Tomb Raider’, it is perhaps better suited to cinema than some video games have been. As a relatively big fan of the games (I only started and rattled through them all during the first lockdown), I had reservations and I must say the casting for the two main parts skewed much younger than I’d have liked, however I actually really enjoyed this and thought it did what it set out to do successfully.
For those unfamiliar with the games, ‘Uncharted’ centres on Nathan Drake (Tom Holland), a treasure hunter who travels across the world to explore a variety of historical mysteries. He’s generally accompanied by his friend/mentor Sully (Mark Wahlberg) and a collection of accomplices/antagonists who help or hinder Drake along the way. In this movie, Drake is a lot younger than he is in the games (he’s around Wahlberg’s age, with Sully a good bit older), and at the outset he’s working as a cocktail waiter and carrying out small time pickpocketing when Sully comes across him. Call it an origin story if you will. This brings Drake into the real business of treasure hunting, pitting him and Sully against a rich adversary (Antonio Banderas) in the hunt for some long lost treasure from centuries ago.
The best thing I can say about ‘Uncharted’ is that it feels enough like the games without forgetting it’s a movie first and foremost. I thought it got the tone spot on and the story was good if a little slight, with the banter and chemistry between Holland and Wahlberg doing a lot of the heavy lifting. As I mentioned at the outset, I had my reservations about the casting and whilst they have cast too young (Holland doesn’t truly convince as the Drake we know from the games), I enjoyed the performances and thought they worked well with each other. The action sequences are pretty good, particularly the conclusion, and clocking in at a good runtime of around 105 minutes means it doesn’t outstay its welcome.
I’m not sure if I liked it so much as my expectations were low or because it’s actually pretty good, but for an opening day viewing on a Friday evening after a tough week at work, this was a perfect choice. It’s clearly angling for a sequel, and I hope it gets one.
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Antonio Banderas, Sophia Ali and Tati Gabrielle